Cultural cooking classes, multi-lingual guest speakers, film screenings and social outings at ethnic restaurants in St. Louis are just some of the events Webster’s new Global Culture Club (GCC) has in mind for the next academic year.
The club’s first informational meeting was on March 30, which was pushed back more than a month due to February’s snow. President Meghan O’Brien said that while the GCC is the Anthropology, Sociology, Global Studies and Languages departmental club, any major is welcome in the GCC.
“What we’re all about is getting to know one another, talking to each other, learning from each other and our experiences and building new experiences together,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien said a key goal of the club is exposing members to other cultures and blending people from different walks of life. The GCC hopes to discover and explore the variety of cultures within St. Louis, for example, by possibly having a get-together on Cherokee Street for Cinco de Mayo.
The GCC will collaborate with Webster’s faculty and other clubs, according to O’Brien. The new club also hopes to connect with professional organizations, such as the American Anthropological Institute, to provide diverse, cross-cultural and inclusive opportunities for students to socialize and learn.
Vice president, treasurer and secretary Katarina Ausley said besides hosting special events, the GCC will have informal hangouts as well. She hopes members can simply relax, chat and share cultural interests and knowledge at these gatherings.
Ausley said the club will have two meetings a month both off and on campus. Options for off-campus hangout places include coffeehouses or lounges. On campus, the club wants to
“[We will have] language roundtables – getting people that speak more than one language to the table – … and there’s an awesome gourmet kitchen over in the Browning Building that we have access to if we want to use it and bring people in to have cooking classes,” Ausley said.
Last semester, O’Brien met fellow anthropology major Michelle Milla during a class they had together. Milla is now the historian of the GCC. Their meeting and conversations sparked the inspiration for the club.
“When I talked to my advisor, the anthropology and sociology departments had just merged, so he said, ‘we need a new club for the department,’ and it kind of just went from there,” O’Brien said.
As the GCC’s historian, Milla said she is interested in supporting students sharing their thoughts on what might be missing at Webster in terms of culture.
“What are some of the things that we don’t have on campus and how can we tap into that and find out?” Milla said. “I want to be the person on the street that’s actually taking surveys, getting out there talking to people [and] getting together with [other organizations].”
Milla and O’Brien got the ball rolling on forming the club. Ausley, who is a psychology and legal studies double major, joined after being recommended by a faculty member.
O’Brien said Ausley immediately wanted to get involved and take on leadership roles. Her main goals for the club are emphasizing intersectionality and advocating for learning culture within disability as well.
“People can come share their stories about what their life and background has been like. And I think that groups in disability. There’s a lot of different underrepresented cultures that aren’t just places geographically, but there’s also identity-wise and I think that’s something that a lot of places forget to bring to the table,” Ausley said. “I would want to have students come and talk about their identity and their culture and we can learn about different perspectives.”
Ausley, who is from O’Fallon, Illinois, said she never had the opportunity to learn about or be exposed to other cultures in her hometown.
“Being able to come to Webster and meet and talk to so many different people, I want that experience for other people as well,” Ausley said. “Because even if you don’t realize you have some biases in your mind, once you start meeting and talking to other people, you start to appreciate the melting-pot-America that St. Louis really encompasses.”
While there is currently no scheduled date for the next meeting, Ausley, Milla and O’Brien said to keep a lookout on the GCC involved@webster page. To join the club’s GroupMe, email email@example.com.
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Kate McCracken (she/her) is currently a staff writer for The Journal. She has previously worked as the lifestyle editor. She is a double major in Philosophy and History, minoring in Professional Writing. She has always loved to write and create stories, and she wrote her first book at age 10. Aside from writing, Kate also enjoys photography, environmental/animal activism, paranormal investigation and oneirology, the study of dreams.